MELBOURNE, Australia – Serena Williams tumbled to the court and needed a medical timeout in the first set for treatment on her right ankle. Once she got up, it was all over for Edina Gallovits-Hall.
Williams routed Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the Australian Open despite the scary sequence in the first part of the match.
The No. 3-ranked Williams is favored to win the major, rolling into Melbourne Park with 35 wins in her previous 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics and the U.S. Open. But the injury could be a significant setback as she seeks a third consecutive Grand Slam title.
Williams said there was pain and swelling in her ankle and X-rays were an option, but she wanted to leave any decisions about treatment for a few hours. She has a day off before her second-round match on Thursday.
“Oh, I’ll be out there,” she said. “I mean, unless something fatal happens to me, there’s no way I’m not going to be competing. I’m alive. My heart’s beating. I’ll be fine.”
Williams said she’s overcome plenty of injuries in previous trips to the Australian Open, where she has won five titles.
“I’ve played this tournament with so many injuries and was able to come off pretty much on top,” she said. “So for me it’s just another page and a great story to tell the grandkids one day.”
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka beat Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 at Rod Laver Arena.
Azarenka is ranked No. 1 but has lost 11 of her 12 career matches against Williams.
“I heard she won love and love, so what kind of injury are we talking about?” Azarenka said.